Volunteer in the Amazon rainforest in an animal rescue centre in Ecuador

  • Volunteer in a successful conservation project working with the wildlife of the Amazon rainforest
  • Volunteering resources are vital to the running of this rainforest sanctuary
  • A volunteering opportunity suitable for gap year students and all conservation enthusiasts
  • Located in an outstanding area of Amazon rainforest, on the doorstep of adventure

Project summary

This project is run by a community based non-profit wildlife conservation organization, whose primary mission is to preserve and protect wildlife from the local Amazon region.

It is a family run and privately funded sanctuary for rescued and confiscated wild animals. Animals include wooly monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tortoises and turtles, crocodiles, macaws, tapirs, ocelots and a variety of animals native to the Amazon jungle region of the country.

The animals are typically brought to the centre because they have been confiscated by the police. Many of the animals are trapped illegally and then trafficked to people in the city wanting to own them as a pet, or they attempt to sell them abroad. Those taken as pets are often released inappropriately once their owners cannot manage them, or the animals are found in poor, unhealthy conditions. Some of the animals are recovered from traffic accidents.

The hope is to release them back into the wild but this is often impossible as the animals have been irrevocably damaged or overly domesticated.

The project is sometimes open to the public and school groups for tours, providing education to the community about these species, their fate as illegal pets or trafficked animals, and the impact this has on the region.

Volunteers are a valuable resource required to run this project. A volunteering opportunity suitable for gap year students and all conservation enthusiasts.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

The main tasks for volunteers is to assist with feeding the animals and their care, including cleaning the animal enclosures. The food, which includes sugar cane, nuts, leaves and vermin (for the carnivores), all needs collecting and preparing.

You will also be involved with park maintenance, making new paths and constructing and repairing the animal and bird pens.

Volunteers can assist with tours for school students and other visitors to the park, either in their native language, or Spanish, depending on their ability.

The managers of the site also welcome general skills such as IT and graphic design that can help them promote their project to the local community, making it more self-sustaining.

Professionals in the fields of veterinary science, biology, zoology or other related areas can assist the sanctuary’s coordinator with animal care and the more technical functions of the centre.

How you can make a difference

The growing reputation of this project has brought success. Supporting well over 200 individual birds, mammals and reptiles, from a variety of different species, means the feeding, cleaning, watering & maintenance programme is hard work and time consuming.

It receives no state funding and by its nature will not attract any significant number of local volunteers. The centre at this stage of its lifecycle therefore depends upon international volunteers.

As projects such as this gain recognition for the important role they play in conservation and protection, they potentially provoke funding from the government in the future. Volunteers help bridge the gap, keeping this project and its dependent wildlife alive, while promoting international awareness.

What is distinctive about this project:

There are several animal rescue centres in Ecuador, most of which are fraught with difficulties and ill-conceived plans. This one provides thoughtful care for animals, managed to a high standard throughout. It prides itself in having the best animal enclosures in the country.

The centre sits in several acres of well-maintained grounds & semi-wild areas. There are comfortable buildings for volunteers, staff accommodation and a small veterinary unit with a quarantine section.

Blue Tiger Features:

You will most likely be one of a number of volunteers, so this project is less about cultural immersion and more about working with like-minded volunteers, although the rural location means you are never far from a truly Amazonian experience.

You do not need specific skills, but be aware you need to be prepared to work hard, in what is a tropical climate, located in the jungle, with all the wonderful wildlife (big and small) that you would expect.


The centre is open all year around


A basic level of Spanish will help you interact with project staff, but you will most likely speak English with the other volunteers.

Experience required:

There is no specific experience required, but of course you should be comfortable working with all types of animals and have an interest in animal conservation. You will be working in relatively simple conditions, working outdoors all day, so you need to be happy with dirt under your fingernails.

Good to know:

The project location is about five hours south of Quito, in an area with good access to the jungle and a whole range of adventure activities, so lots to be done in your leisure time. Being dependent on volunteers means they have a volunteer coordinator who helps induct and coordinate all volunteer activities.

Price table

4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks16 weeks

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food*, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support, welcome meal and up to 2 weeks of high quality 121 Spanish tuition.
*includes all food in Quito, but only Monday-Friday at the project, as most volunteers do leisure activities at the weekend
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations

Things to see and do

  • Visit the Amazon rainforest
  • Downhill mountain-biking in Cotopaxi
  • Go Wild in Banos
  • Visit the Galapagos
  • Straddle the equator

Country co-ordinator

Monika Montes

Monika is superbly connected throughout Ecuador and has been working with Outreach International since 2003. She lives with her two teenage children in central Quito and plays host to many of our volunteers who work in the city. Monika’s passion for volunteering is reflected in her commitment and level of support that she provides. She speaks fluent English and is a qualified Spanish tutor.

About Ecuador